Flag gets up in Tambellup

TAMBELLUP’S police station and council chambers will soon get Aboriginal flags thanks to the initiative of the cop shop’s new officer-in-charge, who is a Noongar man.

On Tuesday, Sergeant Allan Mallard celebrated six months as OIC of Tambellup Police Station.

He recently received an Aboriginal flag from State Treasurer Ben Wyatt, also an Aboriginal man.

“I bought two flag poles, one for the shire and one for the police station,” Sgt Mallard told The Weekender.

“They’re getting installed in the next week or so.”

Sgt Mallard’s mother, Margaret, is a Noongar woman with family in the Tambellup area.

“She’s over the moon,” Sgt Mallard said of her response to the flags.

Broomehill-Tambellup Shire President Scott Thompson said raising the Aboriginal flag outside the council chambers had been raised some years ago at the shire, but defeated.

However, on March 15 the shire voted six councillors to one to proudly fly the flag.

“We’ve got a strong Indigenous community in Tambellup,” Cr Thompson said.

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After-hours GP to cut emergency wait times

A TRIAL of after-hours health care will commence at Albany Health Campus next month to alleviate increasing pressure on the hospital’s emergency department.

From April, an after-hours GP and nurse practitioner service will be offered to patients in aged and palliative care facilities, as well as those receiving care at home, to divert them from the emergency department.

The service was officially launched on Monday by Minister for Health Roger Cook, Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson, Member for Albany Peter Watson, WA Primary Health Alliance officials and the group of Albany general practitioners behind the after-hours service idea.

The program will be trialled for 12 months and be both mobile and in a permanent setup, in a clinic adjacent to the current emergency department.

The general public will be able to access the after-hours health care clinic from June, and it will operate during evenings, weekends and public holidays.

The service will offer treatment to patients who require urgent care, but whose conditions could be treated by a GP during normal hours.

Health minister Roger Cook said the release of the Sustainable Health Review Interim Report highlighted a need for the service.

“There is a need to improve care in our communities, to reduce costs and wastes and to reduce the pressure on our emergency departments,” he said.

“This new service is about better access to GP and nurse practitioner services for patients and carers, which means better quality of care for non-emergency patients and not having to wait in busy emergency departments.”

WA Primary Health Alliance CEO Learne Durrington said the new service would be a great “all-round outcome”, as it avoids distressing scenarios for sick patients and allows emergency department staff to focus on serious cases.

“The on-call service will ensure people who are frail and unwell can be treated in the comfort of their own home, care home or hospice and avoid unnecessary and costly trips by ambulance to hospital,” she said.

“Importantly, the patient’s usual doctor will be fully informed about the treatments that occurred.”

The trial after-hours health care service will complement existing Albany GP services and use experienced nurse practitioners and GPs.

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Waterfront apartment bid up for comment

A BID to overturn a ban on residential apartments at a 9599sqm block owned by businessman Paul Lionetti across Toll Place from his Due South Tavern has been lodged with the City of Albany.

Foreshore Investments Albany Pty Ltd has applied for permission to erect up to 6800sqm of apartments on Mr Lionetti’s block, at Lot 3 of the Albany Waterfront project.

The company’s application to amend the Albany Waterfront Structure Plan says Due South has “proven a popular attraction to the waterfront area and wider Albany region”.

The application, prepared by Harley Dykstra town planners, argues that “a lack of private investment in the waterfront area can be partially attributed to overly restrictive planning regulations, resulting in development of the area being unviable”.

“The landowners are committed to completing a high standard of hotel and apartment development on the site,” Harley Dykstra continues.

“Importantly, it should be noted that the holiday accommodation and a hotel will remain the primary land uses on the site, and multiple dwellings will be a secondary use.

“Additional control measures can be incorporated through subsequent planning stages (i.e. – development application) to manage the number and location of any multiple dwellings proposed.”

Harley Dykstra imagines the control measures “should” ensure that the number of bedrooms associated with the holiday accommodation and hotel components will “always, and at all times, exceed those associated with any multiple dwelling component”.

But Albany Ratepayers and Residents Association President Elizabeth Barton said the whole rationale for the waterfront project was to promote tourism, not medium density residential living.

“What will happen is they’ll build the residential, but the tourism will never get built,” Ms Barton, who in 10 days in the late 1990s collected 2500-plus signatures against the waterfront project, said.

“It will become a residential area.

“It was always agreed there would never be residential down there, because it’s a tourist node and residential development is in conflict with the operations of the port.”

Harley Dykstra argues that the modified plan for the vacant block responds to “an increasing trend towards a flexible approach to tourism planning and to support the viable operation of these buildings, which have historically prevented the development of a hotel and short stay accommodation on Lot 3”.

“To facilitate investment in new hotels and holiday accommodation, there has been an increasing trend towards including an element of permanent residential accommodation within tourist developments,” Harley Dykstra stresses.

“Examples of this include the Middleton Beach Hotel site, Elizabeth Quay, Port Coogee Marina and Bunbury Ocean View Hotel.”

State Planning Minister Rita Saffioti recently told The Weekender that residential apartments would likely be needed to make a 12-floor hotel viable at Middleton Beach (‘Residential mix for hotel’, February 8).

Harley Dykstra submitted that owners of apartments on Mr Lionetti’s block would be encouraged to let their dwellings for short stay accommodation.

The City of Albany and State Department of Planning received a copy of the plans for preliminary comment in October.

The final decision on whether apartments are allowed rests with the Western Australian Planning Commission.

When contacted by The Weekender, Mr Lionetti declined to comment.

The Albany community can comment to the City until April 12.

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Music moves in to new room

ALBANY’S newest live music venue will be more “show than gig” and more “Hi-fi than PA” according to its coordinator and general music aficionado Geoff Waldeck.

Tucked down the back of Six Degrees bar, the new 6dLIVE room will offer a boutique live music experience in an intimate setting and will quench the thirst for the growing demand for quality visiting acts.

As the finishing touches were being applied to the room’s bespoke lighting and sound, The Weekender had a quick sneak peek and got the run-down on the concept from Waldeck and Six Degrees licensee Anton Davey.

“When we built the place, it was designed around the idea of catering for musicians and artists,” Davey said.

“This will be a unique place for soloists, duos and small bands to per- form. We just want to see live music flourish and there isn’t really a small venue in town like this.”

Davey’s right-hand man in the project, Waldeck, said the room will fit 150 people standing or 70 seated and is all about providing a quality sound to go with the quality of talent he has booked.

“We’ve already tested the room as we’ve been treating it acoustically, and it’s going to be pretty nice. There is no [sound] spill between the room and the rest of the bar,” Waldeck said.

6dLIVE will be officially launched when it hosts alternative folk artist Riley Pearce on Friday, April 6 ahead of his UK tour, although it will get a test-run on Easter Saturday when local outfit Pinstripe take to the stage sans bass player to put the room through its paces.

Tickets are available for Pearce’s April 6 show through the Six Degrees Facebook page.

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‘Major events covered’

POLICE have assured the people of Albany that large gatherings are adequately covered, despite a senior City official telling a Parliamentary inquiry that more than one event at a time would stretch the ability of law enforcers to combat an act of terrorism.

In his written submission to State Parliament’s Inquiry into the Protection of Crowded Places from Terrorist Acts, City of Albany governance and risk manager Stuart Jamieson said it was “unknown” whether the powers and resources of WA Police would be adequate to deal with terrorism.

“… however, for the City of Albany, being a regional centre, more than one large event occurring at any one time would stretch local resources,” Mr Jamieson advised the inquiry on February 21.

“For example, for RaceWars 2018, WAPOL Albany have dedicated two uniform officer[s] for the whole event.”

When told of Mr Jamieson’s submission, officer-in-charge of Albany Police Grant Pollard said he could not comment on how many police were deployed at the Racewars meet held at Albany Airport earlier this month, because the amount of police presence was an “operational matter”.

Senior Sergeant Pollard did however stress that policing resources in Albany were adequate to cover major events.

“We can reassure the public [that] any major events that do occur can be adequately resourced either locally by the Albany police, or [from] further resources from within the Great Southern district to ensure community safety is maintained at all times,” he told The Weekender.

“At all times, the community’s not put at any greater risk than can be avoided.

“Given the number of events and the degree of severity and the timeframe of escalation, there would always be appropriate resources available.”

Mr Jamieson submitted to the inquiry that events conducted or approved by the City must have a risk management plan.

He added that good intelligence sharing between the WA police force and event organisers was one part of achieving best practice in protecting crowded places from terrorism.

He regarded a four-pronged strategy adopted by the United Kingdom in 2010 – that incorporates the principles of pursuing terrorists, preventing people becoming or supporting terrorists, protecting against attacks and preparing to mitigate the impact of attack – as a best practice model.

The inquiry, chaired by Member for Hillarys Peter Katsambanis, is now taking evidence. It is set to report in November.

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Celebs test market

COOKING celebrities Justine Schofield and Anna Gare popped into Denmark’s Rockcliffe Winery Night Market on Friday to show off their culinary skills as part of their Taste Great Southern tour.

Before taking to the stage, the talented ladies caught up with The Weekender for a glass of wine and a giggle or two.

The TV personalities are no stranger to Taste Great Southern; Ms Schofield took part a few years ago and couldn’t resist coming back, and Ms Gare has already participated in the 2018 trail, demonstrating at the Porongurup Wine Festival on the long weekend.

“I absolutely adored it,” Ms Gare said of the recent wine festival.

“It’s a beautiful start to the Taste Great Southern.”

Ms Gare said she was eager to get around to the other Taste events, and get her hands on some of the region’s local produce, including Denmark grass-fed lamb, Peaceful Bay seafood, marron and fresh produce from the Albany Farmer’s Market.

“That’s what I love about the festival, there are so many satellite events,” she said.

“That’s the beauty of the Great Southern; you’re always exploring new places and finding hidden gems.”

Ms Schofield had a busy weekend planned, heading to the Albany Farmer’s Market on Saturday and The Lake House Denmark on Sunday for the cooking and sundowner by the lake events.

“I love this festival,” she said.

“I can really immerse myself in what this place has to offer.”

One of the major events next on the Taste Great Southern menu is the Albany Wine and Food Festival at Eyre Park this Saturday from 11.30am to 5.30pm.

There’s plenty on before and well after this festival, so be sure to check out tastegreatsouthern.com. au to see what’s next.

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Eagles fly into Flinders

FLINDERS PARK students got a surprise visit from AFL legends on Tuesday as part of the West Coast Eagles’ school tour promoting wellbeing.

Ex-North Melbourne superstar-turned-Eagle Drew Petrie watched on from the sidelines of the school assembly area with a grin, as students bounced in their seats awaiting the presentation to start.

The students’ excited chirping continued as they joined West Coast Eagles community development officer Bradd Dalziell in chanting Rick the Rock’s name, to coax him out from the stage curtains and on to the stage.

Mr Dalziell led an engaging discussion on physical, emotional and social wellbeing, with Rick the Rock providing just the right amount of cheeky entertainment to keep the kids focused.

During Petrie’s question time, he confirmed that local Albany boy Declan Mountford had made a great start to his career with North Melbourne, having played alongside him for a year.

“He’s really hard working and he’s very professional,” he said of Mountford.

“He’s someone you can trust too, which is a great trait to have.”

The West Coast Eagles will face Sydney Swans at Optus Stadium for their first match of the season on March 25.

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Coffee, meal and five-star feel at Frenchies

WHETHER a $10 million boutique retreat at Frenchman Bay with cafe, kiosk and shop gets the go-ahead will be decided by a State-convened development assessment panel and not the City of Albany.

A 510-page planning application for the Frenchman Bay Retreat, prepared by Harley Dykstra Pty Ltd on behalf of land-owner MTK Ventures Pty Ltd, confirms the resort is too economically valuable to be considered by the city alone.

Earlier this year, The Weekender (‘Developers’ picnic at Frenchies’, 11/1/2018) revealed the project was back on the table after a slightly larger development was canned in 2015.

Back then, 46 letters of support had been received by the city.

But 28 objectors resisted the size of the resort, plans to include permanent housing, or arrangements for sewage treatment.

Now, plans first advertised on Tuesday show 24 two-floor villas (five fewer than originally proposed), on-site sewage treatment, and no permanent residences.

Harley Dykstra advises the retreat – on the site of the defunct Frenchman Bay Caravan Park – would benefit residents of Goode Beach, and greater Albany.

“The proposed café, kiosk and shop will provide increased convenience to the residents of nearby Goode Beach to purchase daily staples including milk and bread,” the planning firm argues.

“Improved amenity will be provided to beach users and tourists, who will be able to purchase drinks, picnic items and sun screen.

“Guests, tourists, locals and the general public will also be able to enjoy a quality coffee and meal from this exceptional location overlooking King George Sound.”

Each two-floor, 208sqm villa would have three bedrooms, a bathroom, ensuite, laundry, TV room, dining room, two lounge rooms, 40sqm double garage, and majestic views over the bay.

The gated project will include a playground, parking spaces for boats and caravans, and circular pathway connecting to an existing stairway from the elevated site down to Whalers Beach.

When contacted by The Weekender, Vancouver Ward councillors Tracy Sleeman and John Shanhun declined to comment on the plans.

The people of Albany can comment direct to the city until April 3.

After that, the city will prepare a report for the Southern Joint Development Assessment Panel.

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Short season puts squeeze on vineyards

WINEMAKERS of the Great Southern region are closing in on the arduous task of harvesting their grapes as the picking season comes to an unusually early finish.

With some wineries having already finished their harvest well before the expected end of season in late April, some producers have said this season has been the shortest in recent memory.

Albany’s Wignalls Wines are expecting to finish their harvest by the end of the week.

“So far, the season is looking like an absolute beauty with really good yields,” owner and winemaker Rob Wignall said.

“Our traditionally later varieties have ripened earlier than normal, which is causing our harvest time to be compressed and a lot of pressure put on our storage resources.”

Mr Wignall reported his grapes generally had balanced acids and a slightly higher sugar content; however, with the threat of disease and bunch rot in his crop, Mr Wignall hasn’t wasted time harvesting.

“I would say this has been the shortest and sharpest harvest season we’ve had in our history,” he said.

“It has been exhausting picking in the wee hours of the morning when it’s coolest, but we’re pretty happy overall.”

In the Mount Barker region, Galafrey Wines’ CEO Kim Tyrer said they had completed harvest for all of their white varieties.

“Our yields have been pretty mixed this year, with some varieties doing really well and others not too good,” she said.

“Our season definitely started earlier than last year’s and will be really short, with our red varieties nearly ready to come off the vine.

“I think our vintage will be over quite early. It will be interesting to see if we have anything left after the Easter break.”

“With everything coming off pretty close together we’re getting a lot of pressure on our storage,” she said.

‘It’s coming off thick and fast, that’s for sure.”

Denmark winery Rockcliffe also reported a higher threat of disease this season, with high humidity and the risk of wet weather threatening fungal blooms and mildew.

“Our volume is going to be a bit smaller this year since we’ve had to drop fruit, but I’m confident our quality is there,” Rockcliffe CEO Steve Hall said.

“We’ve had a lot of disease pressure with the weather not being kind to us.

“But we should have all our harvest done by the end of the week.”

In comparison, Porongurup vineyard Zarephath has reported longer ripening times with a slightly longer harvesting time.

Zarephath owner and winemaker Rosie Singer said yields were larger than last year’s season.

Ms Singer attributed the large yield to the late spring and early summer rain last year, which has shown promising fruit for their Pinot Noir.

“The Pinot is doing really well and is always an anticipated wine for us,” she said.

Frankland River’s Alkoomi are also taking longer to harvest their grapes, with owner and vineyard manager Rod Hallett stating that it would still be another three to four weeks until their harvest would be complete.

“We’ve had a pretty awesome season this year,” he said.

“We started a bit earlier this year, but everything is on par with its standard.”

Mr Hallett said the drier weather in Frankland River had spared the vineyard from any issues with disease this year.

“I’m sure other wineries in the Frankland region would be experiencing the same,” he said.

“Frankland is pretty reliable with its weather and its grapes.”

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City’s French connection invokes Travelgate saga

THE Travelgate scandal that saw the Corruption and Crime Commission form opinions of serious misconduct against Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi reared its head in Albany on Tuesday when a city committee agreed that ratepayers foot the bill for a $5000 trip to France for Mayor Dennis Wellington.

Toward the end of debate on the planned trip to Peronne to commemorate Australia’s World War I military presence at the Somme, Deputy Mayor Greg Stocks dubbed Albany’s inability to accept an offer from Peronne of accommodation and domestic transport “a load of rubbish”.

“It’s not as if the mayor is going to the Olympic Games … and drinking with the corporate sector,” Cr Stocks said, precipitating a muffled chortle from one of his elected colleagues.

The observation was a pointed reference to Ms Scaffidi’s acceptance of a trip to the 2008 Beijing Olympics for she and husband Joe, courtesy of BHP-Billiton.

After the CCC published opinions of serious misconduct against Ms Scaffidi in 2015, the ensuing Travelgate affair saw the State Government tighten declaration requirements for all gifts to local officials, including trips abroad.

At the Community and Corporate Services Committee meeting on Tuesday night, Alison Goode, Mayor of Albany from 1999 to 2007, said it was “a shame” Mr Wellington was “unable to accept the gift” but that such hospitality usually came at a cost.

“When the Mayor of Gallipoli came out, we footed the bill for everything,” Cr Goode recalled.

Cr Sandie Smith asked city CEO Andrew Sharpe if the friendship agreement with Peronne was active and reciprocal, as required by the city’s Civic Affiliations Policy for an overseas trip.

Mr Sharpe said that when in Peronne Mr Wellington would discuss a return visit from French officials to commemorate the Anzacs’ departure from Albany in 1914.

“It’s a bit late for that,” Cr Smith observed.

“When was the last time there was a reciprocal visit from them, please?”

Addressing Cr Goode, and not committee chair Paul Terry, Mr Wellington said he thought it was “when you were mayor”.

“I think they were invited for 2014 but couldn’t make it,” he added.

Mr Sharpe acknowledged Cr Smith’s was “a valid question”.

“I think that’s a conversation the mayor is quite likely to have when he visits Peronne to see if there’s a desire to visit in 2019,” he said, referring to the Field of Light: Avenue of Honour installation set to commemorate the Anzacs from October 2018 to April 2019 at Mount Clarence.

Mr Wellington said that since the agreement with Peronne was signed in 2008, the city had realised its bilateral relationships were very expensive.

He said the city had said “no thanks” in the past “four or five months” to two approaches from Chinese cities.

After debate concluded, Mr Wellington left the council chambers and his 12 councillor colleagues unanimously endorsed the $5000 visit from August 31 to September 2.

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